The Philadelphia Eagles had a very successful 2022 NFL Draft and free agency period. General manager Howie Roseman has done an outstanding job so far. One of the areas that the Eagles could still improve upon is in their special teams and particularly the return game.
The Eagles recently announced the signing of former Utah speedster Britain Covey as an undrafted free agent. Covey is a former All PAC-12 return specialist and wide receiver. He is lightning fast and a talented returner. Will Covey be able to compete for a roster spot?
Britain Covey attended the University of Utah. He played wide receiver and was named the team’s return specialist. As a freshman, Covey caught 43 passes for 519 yards and four touchdowns. He had seven kick returns for 169 yards (24.1 average) and 21 punt returns for 246 yards (11.7 average) including one return for a touchdown.
Covey took a two-year break for missionary work but came back to football as a sophomore in 2018. He led his team in receptions by recording 60 catches for 637 yards. Covey had seven kickoff returns for 144 yards (20.6 average) and 25 punt returns for 221 yards (8.8 average). He was named First-Team All-Pac-12 for his kickoff and punt return production.
Britan Covey’s 2019 season was cut short due to a knee injury, but he came back strong in 2020. The 2020 season was shortened because of the pandemic, but Covey was still among college football’s best returners. He had eight punt returns for 129 yards which led the FBS with an average punt return of 16.1 yards. Covey had an outstanding three receiving touchdowns in four possible games in 2020.
Covey was once again a threat as a return specialist in 2021. He had two punt return touchdowns which was tied for the most in college football and one kickoff return touchdown. Overall, Covey had 12 kickoff returns for 360 yards (30-yard average) and 29 punt returns for 427 yards (14.7 average). This production set school records and his third All Pac-12 Honors.
Britain Covey is listed at 5’8″ and 169 lbs. He is a 25-year-old rookie which is a couple years older than average. Covey is undersized, but he has a knack for finding space and breaking tackles. Covey has a strong lower body which helps his momentum and agility.
He is small, so he won’t make much of an impact as an NFL receiver. His skillset is perfect for making the team as a returner.
Where Do The Eagles Stand At Returner?
Jalen Reagor was the Eagles’ 2021 kickoff and punt returner. He was way below the NFL average. Reagor had 12 kickoff returns for 255 yards (21.3 average) and 31 punt returns for 227 yards (7.3 average). Jalen Reagor did not score any touchdowns as a returner.
Overall, the Eagles ranked 29th in kickoff-return average and 28th in punt-return average. Reagor also had two muffed punts in the wildcard loss against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The Eagles have already replaced Jalen Reagor as the starting receiver. They traded with the Titans for AJ Brown on draft night. Philadelphia also added Zach Pascal in free agency. Reagor’s best chance to make the team in 2022 is for his special teams experience. Britain Covey now provides much needed competition for Jalen Reagor for return specialist.
The Eagles were weak on special teams in 2021. They need improvement in their return game if they want to give the offense a shorter field to work with. Britain Covey gives the Eagles an intriguing option. He was a high performer in college and has the skillset to succeed. Right now, Covey is another camp body with potential, but he could definitely fill another need for the Eagles.